Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Confusion Over Translations of Night by Elie Wiesel

Bonnie and I celebrated our twenty-second anniversary a couple of weeks ago. We still talk about library issues frequently. Our daughter could probably place out of library school, if she were so inclined, which she is not. I get lots of my best information and ideas from Bonnie. She told me what she learned about Elie Wiesel's Night this morning.

I know now that I gave a reader interested in following Oprah's book discussion the wrong edition of Night yesterday. The official Oprah book is a new translation by the author's wife Marion Wiesel, which is touted as longer and more accurate than the 1960 edition translated from French by Stella Rodway (often republished). The new edition also has a new introduction by the author and his 1986 Nobel Peace Prize presentation and acceptance speeches. (The Farrar Straus and Giroux website indicates "speeches".) The ISBN is 0374500010 in paperback and 0374399972 in hardcover.

Bonnie learned this on Monday as Oprah announced the book and the requests started coming in to the Downers Grove Public Library. She started to order copies of the older translation but noticed very few in stock at Baker and Taylor, a strange situation for an Oprah book. So she started looking at the Oprah announcement and got the ISBN. At that point, Farrar Straus and Giroux were listing the book with an April publishing date. Was this a red herring? This has since been updated. Returning to Baker and Taylor with the ISBN she found the edition, which is hidden under the title Oprah Book Club Selection #55. As of this morning, it is still listed this way and not searchable by author or title.

Trying to get a copy quickly on Monday, she found that a local bookstore had been confused and was trying to order the wrong translation. The big box bookstores, however, were in on Oprah's secret and have plenty of copies.

So, librarians, be advised that you probably should not rely on your countless older copies of Night to get you by this time.

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